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user2614    01/16     1641    
4.0/1 

When I register my kid to high school, I notice in the "race" section, I am forced to choose one, otherwise I can not go to the next step to complete the registration, but I do not believe the law actually mandates me to disclose detailed racial/ethnic information as you explained.
 
There are two sources of legal authority for the race/ethnicity question in the enrollment form, one from the federal government and one from our state law (Gov. Code 8310.5).  In my case, the federal requirement limits racial/ethnic information to the “Asian” level and does not require any further details.  It is true that the federal guidelines state that a third-party can“identify non-respondents by observation”, but such third-party identification via observation will be obviously limited to the “Asian” granularity and cannot go beyond it.
 
The California requirement, under Gov. Code 8310.5, is not mandatory in nature. The code says “A state agency, board, or commission ... shall use separate collection categories and tabulations for the following [ethnic groups].”  Literally and clearly, the “shall” language is with respect to “use separate collection categories”; it does not in any way demand that the data collection be mandatory in nature.  In other words, it would be perfectly fine that a state agency uses multiple separatecollection categories and make the corresponding data collection optional/discretional (i.e., not mandatory), while still satisfying Gov. Code 8310.5.  Equivalently, in my case, a parent should have a “decline to state” option for racial/ethnic categories beyond the “Asian” level.
 
The CDE’s FAQ website is defective and misleading in the sense that it commingles the federal requirement and its guidelines with the state law.  There is no direct connection between the two.  And there is no legal authority for a stateagency to adopt any “third-party observer” when implementing Gov. Code 8310.5.
 
As such, I refuse to provide for my kid any racial/ethnic information beyond “Asian”, which satisfies the federal requirement. To be clear, I do not believe Gov. Code 8310.5 mandates me to fill in any racial/ethnic information beyond “Asian” and I will refuse to do so.  I wonder if in such a case my kid cannot be enrolled in our home school. Thank you.